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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th December 2012

Horton Foote's The Trip To Bountiful, the story of an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small hometown one last time, against the wishes of her overprotective son and domineering daughter in law, with Cicely Tyson, directed by Michael Wilson, will preview from March 31st at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, with an official opening on April 23rd. The design team will comprise scenery by Jeff Cowie, costumes by Van Broughton Ramsey, lighting by Rui Rita, and sound by John Gromada. The producer is Nelle Nugent.

Soho Rep will stage the premiere of Lucas Hnath's A Public Reading Of An Unproduced Screenplay About The Death Of Walt Disney, about the reading, by Walt Disney, of a screenplay that he has written about his last days on earth, a city he's going to build that's going to change the world, and how sad people are going to be when he's gone, directed by Sarah Benson, from April 30th. Soho Rep is located at 46 Walker Street, between Broadway and Church Street.

The Irish Repertory Theatre will stage the U.S. premiere of Charlotte Jones's Airswimming, based on the true story of 2 women incarcerated in a hospital for the criminally insane for having illegitimate children in Britain in the 1920s, with Aedin Moloney and Rachel Pickup, directed by John Keating, previewing from January 9th in the Studio Theatre, opening on January 20th, produced in association with Fallen Angel Theatre Company. Meanwhile, Brian Friel's The Freedom Of The City, revolving around an inquiry into the shooting of three people during a civil rights demonstration, with Cara Seymour, Joe Sikora, James Russell, Ciaran Byrne, Clark Carmichael, Christa Scott-Reed, John C Vennema, Craig Wroe and Evan Zes, directed by Ciaran O'Reilly, will return to the Main Stage from 2nd January. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Forthcoming productions at 59E59 Theaters will include City Love Song: Home, written and performed by Jack Finnegan, based on his travels across 6 continents, directed by Tralen Doler, from January 8th, produced by four fins ink; Working On A Special Day, adapted from Una Giornata Particolare by Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari and Gigliola Fantoni, translated by Danya Taymor, Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, original concept by Laura Almela and Daniel Gimenez Cacho, exploring the life changing encounter between an overworked housewife and a mysterious bachelor on the day Rome celebrates Hitler's visit to Mussolini, with Ana Graham and Antonio Vega, from January 10th, produced by The Play Company and Por Piedad Teatro; Paul Bomba's The Man Under, in which a man tracks down a woman he met on a subway platform to tell her his true feelings, directed by Benjamin Kamine, from January 25th, produced by Athena Theatre; and Barbara Blatner's Years Of Sky, chronicling the doomed but enduring love of a biracial couple whose fate is bound to the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, directed by Christopher Scott, from February 21st, produced by Scripts Up!. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

The Broadway League has released its audience demographic analysis of the 2011/2012 season. Of the highest ever total of 12.3m tickets sold, international visitors accounted for 18.4%, while tourists from home and abroad accounted for 63.4%. Online was the most popular method of purchasing tickets, chosen by 47% of ticket buyers. The typical playgoer saw 6 shows, while the musical attendee saw 4. Those who saw 15 or more shows comprised 5% of the audience, but represented 29% of all admissions. 67% of the audiences were female, the highest figure ever. Further information can be found of the Broadway League's web site, via the link from Organisations, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet

All The Rage, a one person play written and performed by Martin Moran, examining how it is possible to move from compassion to rage almost instantaneously, directed by Seth Barrish, will preview from January 19th at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwright's Horizon, opening on January 30th. The producers are piece by piece productions, Rising Phoenix Repertory and The Barrow Group. Playwright's Horizon is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Victorian novelist Charles Dickens's vivid characters have inspired illustrators for nearly 2 centuries, and have proved adaptable by dramatists, cinematographers and composers. Charles Dickens: The Key To Character, an exhibition at the New York Public Library, on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, celebrates the power of Charles Dickens's creations to be imagined ever anew, examining important precedents for his art of characterisation as well as intersections between his personal life and his literary creations. The exhibition features artworks by nearly 30 illustrators, including unpublished watercolors by the well-known Phiz, along with rare translations, original sheet music, and the memoranda book the author used to jot down possible names for characters. Also on display are the 1867 pocket diary containing the code with which Dickens communicated with his mistress Ellen Ternan, and audio visual stations featuring unusual recordings from the collections of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The Rumour Machine says: that the recently opened musical The Bodyguard, adapted from the film about the relationship between a singer and a man hired to protect her from a stalker, featuring additional songs from Whitney Houston's back catalogue, with Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen, directed by Thea Sharrock, may be Broadway bound in spring 2014, courtesy of the Nederlander Organisation; and that Rocky The Musical, book by Thomas Meehan, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty, adapted from the 1976 movie, directed by Alex Timbers, originally scoffed at by Broadway producers, is receiving serious attention following its premiere in Hamburg, Germany. The Rumour Machine grinds on.